Should Chelsea Go In Again For Roma Hitman Edin Dzeko?

Last January, Chelsea were heavily linked with AS Roma striker Edin Dzeko.

In the end the Blues couldn’t get a deal over the line for the Bosnian international and instead they brought in French World Cup winner Olivier Giroud.

Almost a year on from the aborted transfer, should Chelsea resurrect the deal to bring Dzeko to Stamford Bride?

The striker himself left the door open to a Premier League return:

“Regarding the Premier League, maybe it’s too late,”

 

“You never know.” 

“I had four-and-a-half great years there, and had fun every minute of every game. I love the Premier League and England, so we’ll see. At the moment I’m happy in Rome.”

Well it really depends on what Maurizio Sarri wants from his main striker?

At the moment The Blues are flying high in the Premier League but it’s Belgian maestro Eden Hazard that’s firing in the team’s goals. Hazard has been given a free role under Sarri and he’s thriving, scoring seven goals in eight league games.

Then you look at the club’s two main centre-forwards, Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud, and between them they’ve scored just two in the English top flight this term.

Both of those strikes have come from Morata but it’s fair to say that the Spaniard still looks to be struggling in a Chelsea jersey. He looks devoid of much confidence and he’s not linking up brilliantly well with the rest of the attack. His shots per game ratio is at two, which is the same as full back Marcos Alonso and is less than Spanish wide-man Pedro.

Olivier isn’t even getting two shots off per game but tellingly his link-up play is much better than Morata’s. The strength and height of Giroud gives his team a good focal point up-top, he has won 2.3 headers per league fixture. He can bully defences and drag opponents away from central areas which creates pockets of space for fellow attackers. While the thirty-two year old hasn’t scored for The Blues so far this term, he has created four assists for teammates. He has a particularly strong partnership with Hazard and he seems to get the best out of the Belgian magician. Giroud is the type of forward that will sacrifice himself for the team and if that means that someone else will get the glory then so be it.

If Chelsea enter January and are still in the mix when it comes to challenging for the Premier League title, then Sarri has to wonder if he sticks with the strikers he has or does he go out and get someone who will add more goals to the frontline?

Former target Dzeko could be an ideal signing.

Like Giroud, the Bosnian gives you a physical presence up-front and he can also link-up well with the creative players playing in behind him. But unlike Olivier and Alvaro, the former Manchester City man should also give you more goals too.

This season, Edin has scored five times in his first nine appearances for the Giallorossi. His shots per game is up at 4.7 per Serie A appearance and his aerial duel ratio is at 3.9, higher than Giroud’s. His 79% passing success rate is also better than Chelsea’s two current hitmen. Edin can score inside and outside the box, with his head or with a pile-driver and he can also spot teammates and provide chances for them. He’s created two assists in his opening nine games and last season he created six.

Personally, I’d like the idea of having him and Giroud battling it out for the number nine shirt. Morata? I’d use the Spaniard as a makeweight and loan him out to Roma.

You start more often than not with Dzeko and then fling on Giroud to offer up another dynamic when the opposition tires.

One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be interesting to see if Maurizio Sarri believes his strikeforce needs to be improved and with what kind of hitman?

Man United Should Forget Milinkovic-Savic Until They Fix Defensive Woes

During the international break, we’ve seen Manchester United being linked once again with Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho was spotted taking in the international tie between Serbia (featuring Sergej) and Montenegro in the last week, thus once again fuelling speculation that United are once again on the hunt for the midfielder.

Now while I don’t doubt the twenty-three year old’s talent, I do question why Man  United would make his signing a priority when it’s clear that the defence is the main position that needs to be sorted out within the next transfer window.

Man Utd have a plethora of midfielders with Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera, Scott McTominay, Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira and Fred all available for selection in the midfield berths.

They’ve all played this season, to varying success. I think Jose needs to find the right trio within those in his squad and continually play them. His constant chopping and changing has meant that United’s midfield have been left confused and at times look impotent.

But in truth, I can see the Man United midfield getting things back on track.

The only real reason I can see for Manchester United to sign Milinkovic-Savic is if they are already planning to sell Paul Pogba!

Unfortunately I don’t think the same can be said about The Red Devils backline.

Now it’s not by coincidence that many a great manager walks into a football club and the first thing they do is look at strengthening the defence. It’s the foundation that allows the rest of your team to flourish. If they are constantly making errors and costing their side goals, then the rest of the squad crumbles and suffers badly.

Centrally, in defence, United have looked very weak this term.

Manger Mourinho made it clear in the summer that he needed to strengthen in that area and he wasn’t backed by his board. The performances since the start of the Premier League season have simply not been good enough and merely supported Mourinho’s claims.

Eric Bailly has clearly lost the trust of his boss and with that the Ivorian has lost all confidence in his own ability. It’s hard to see the twenty-four year winning Jose over again. He won’t with performances like the one he had against Brighton and Hove Albion earlier in the campaign.

Swedish internationalist Victor Lindelof constantly looks like a deer caught in the headlights. He looks beyond nervous and struggles with the rough and tumble that you sometimes get in England’s top flight.

When is it time to admit defeat with Phil Jones? He clearly had the makings of becoming a top class centre-half yet injuries and inconsistent form has seen him struggle to reach his full potential. He hasn’t managed to make twenty five starts in one season in the last four years at Old Trafford. Quite simply Phil isn’t reliable enough to remain as one of the club’s top central defenders.

For me, the most consistent defender that they got at Man United is Chris Smalling. He’s the only one that gets any pass marks this term. He has a fairly decent passing success rate at 88.4% and on average he’s winning around four aerial battles per league game. He also has the best clearances ratio at Old Trafford this season.

When you look at it, you could probably say that the club could do with two new centre-backs and dump at least one if not two of the current underperforming crop. So instead of shelling out around £80m on a midfielder or a winger, again Mourinho should be getting more from his attacking players, they could possibly get two new defensive recruits.

There’s plenty of options out there for the United hierarchy and their gaffer to agree upon with the likes of Toby Alderweirld, Nathan Ake, Martin Skriniar, Alessio Romagnoli and Lucas Hernandez all potential targets.

People might say that Jose Mourinho had the funds to bring in Lindelof and Bailly, that he didn’t spend it wisely and that he should then not be allowed to get another go. But just look at the money spent on the defence and goalkeeping positions by Premier League champions Manchester City since coach Pep Guardiola arrived at the Etihad. The Citizens have spent hundreds of millions on Ederson, Claudio Bravo, Benjamin Mendy, John Stones, Danilo, Kyle Walker and Aymeric Laporte.

Man City and Pep noticed a problem and spent big to solve it. Man United have to show the balls to do the same or they’ll struggle to get into the top four never mind challenge for major trophies!

Italy Missing A Talismanic Goalscorer

Growing up in the nineties I looked on in amazement as Italy seemed to mass produce wonderful forward after wonderful forward.

You had the likes of Roberto Baggio, Pippo Inzaghi, Alessandro Del Piero, Christian Vieri and Gianluca Vialli all scoring more than fifteen goals each for the Azzurri. You then had attacking stars like Roberto Mancini, Gianfranco Zola, Giuseppe Signori, Toto Schillachi and Francesco Totti who could come in and add a few goals as well as creativity.

Much was expected of the current crop. In particular Italians were hoping that one of Mario Balotelli, Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti could become the dependable goalscoring forward that they were desperately needing.

Yet only Balotelli has scored double figures for the Italian national team (14 goals in 36 caps) and Mario went four years without playing for the Azzurri. Mancini has brought him back into the fold earlier in the year but then dropped the Nice striker for the latest squad due to fitness issues.

In total Belotti, Balotelli, Immobile and Insigne have scored a combined total of thirty goals in 118 international appearances.

No one has came in and made the number nine jersey their own.

Former international forward Mancini has been brought in to get more out of the country’s national team. It was with embarrassment that they had to watch this summer’s World Cup without seeing their blue shirt being represented on the pitch.

The Azzurri are now sitting in twentieth place in the World Rankings and are behind Wales and Poland. Interestingly Gareth Bale has scored thirty times for Wales and Robert Lewandowski has banged in fifty-five strikes for Poland.

So far new boss Roberto has had a very mixed start to his era in charge of Italy. He’s won just once in his first six games, drawing the last fixture a home friendly with Ukraine and also failing to win either of their opening Nations League matches.

A glaring problem has once again been the Azzurri’s lack of goals. They have only scored six times in those six games. The last two goals have come from midfielder Jorginho and winger Federico Bernardeschi.

Belotti, Balotelli, Insigne and Immobile have all had competitive minutes this year without finding the net.

I think Mancini needs to select his preferred centre-forward, tell him and then give him a run of games to prove that he can be the goalscorer that Italy needs. Too much chopping and changing creates confusion and impacts on an already fragile morale.

Napoli forward Insigne and Lazio hitman Immobile are both in the squad this week and have started their Serie A seasons impressively. So hopefully one of them can take their chance this weekend.

They’ve got an important Nations League away tie against Poland in Chorzow later today and they really need to find a win to get Mancini’s era back on track.

Without a regular goalscorer, I’m not sure Italy can become one of the world’s elite again. They have other problems but a prolific striker can solve a lot of issues!

Why Nathan Ake Should Be Attracting Interest From Spurs & Arsenal

From @NathanAke (Twitter)

Nathan Ake is in good company when it comes to players leaving Chelsea and flourishing elsewhere.

Mohamed Salah, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne all left Stamford Bridge and just look at them now. Can Ake follow suit and become a defensive star for a top Premier League team?

The Dutch defender has been in terrific form for AFC Bournemouth this season. The Cherries are flying and while the attack is getting a lot of plaudits, centre-back Nathan is also shining.

Top four wannabes Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur could and should be looking at Nathan Ake as a man that could come in and improve their defence.

Under new boss Unai Emery, The Gunners have visibly improved but you can see that they still need to improve at the back. They’ve conceded the most out of the top five teams in the Premier League, so far this season.

I’m still not convinced that Shkodran Mustafi is fully suited to the new style at the Emirates, as he’s not the most comfortable on the ball and he’s still got a few clangers in him. I’m also not convinced we’ll see Frenchman Laurent Koscielny back to his best when he returns from injury. He was already beginning to lose a bit of pace before the lay-off and I doubt he’ll recover that much needed speed.

At Spurs, Argentine manager Mauricio Pochettino must be considering his defensive options.

Toby Alderweireld is almost certainly going to be leaving the Lilywhites within the next two transfer windows. The Belgian internationalist has declined any offer of a new deal and next summer he’ll be available at a cut-price fee of £25m. Then you’ve got fellow Belgian central defender Jan Vertonghen, who has once again succumbed to an injury problem. Being the wrong side of thirty, Pochettino might be thinking of bringing in another youthful centre-back.

In Ake, both sides would be bringing in a player with valued English top flight experience. That should see him settle in quickly if he were to return to London.

One key attribute that would suit either team is the twenty-three year old’s distribution from the backline. The Dutchman has got an 89.7% passing success rate; that’s more than any Spurs or Gunners defender during this campaign. He’s also confident enough on the ball to stride out of defence with it and start attacking moves from deep positions.

Nathan is also strong when it comes to making clearances, averaging over five per game this season. Plus he has a strong work ethic and a determination to prove himself.

Ake would also bring in a versatility and high concentration levels. He can play as a centre-back, left back or as an effective holding midfielder.

The defender’s form with The Cherries has won him international recognition and he now has now made seven appearances for The Netherlands.

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has relished watching Nathan Ake improve as a player but realises that his impressive form will bring potential suitors:

“Nathan’s been excellent,”

“We had a real fight to get him in the summer. His loan spell had really put him to the fore in terms of the spotlight and exposure.”

“I think he’s very happy here and sees the team and the club progressing,”

It will be interesting to see if a big club comes in for Ake and how much they are willing to pay for an impressive ball playing centre-back.

 

Rangers Should Talk To Liverpool Regarding A Permanent Move For Ryan Kent

Rangers are really starting to see some great things from Liverpool loanee Ryan Kent.

As he gets more minutes on the pitch, Kent is beginning to reach his potential and show that he can become a game changer.

Against Scottish Premiership league leaders Hearts last weekend, Ryan scored the games opening goal and picked up the man of the match award as The Light Blues won 3-1 at Ibrox.

His performance against the Jambos earned big praise from Gers manager Steven Gerrard:

“His performances have been really good and they’ve got stronger as we’ve gone on. The last two have been right up there in the top drawer,” 

“He deserved man of the match today, he deserved his goal and I’m pleased for him.”

The winger has a strong work-ethic, which is one key attribute that will have pleased Gerrard. As he starts to settle into Glasgow life, Kent is beginning to blossom as he gets on the ball more and he attacks his opponents. He’s smart enough to be able to link up with those around him and he’s also confident when he’s on the ball to dribble at full-backs and take them on.

The Englishman may even be adding goals to his game. In his first seventeen games for the Ibrox club, Ryan has scored just twice but those strikes have both come in recent weeks. Kent does need to add more goals and assists to his name if he’s going to step up to that next level.

Yet while Ryan Kent has impressed at Rangers, I don’t believe he will break into the Liverpool first team when he heads back to Anfield come the end of the season.

For all that his progression at Ibrox has been strong, I still don’t see a player capable of challenging for a spot in a Premier League top four team. He’s not any better than those that are currently at the club and he’s also got to contend with fellow loanees Harry Wilson and Ben Woodburn.

With Reds boss Jurgen Klopp favouring a 4-3-3 and with the forwards all being huge contributors, it’s hard to see any young player breaking through in those attacking positions.

We also can’t forget that this loan move to Rangers is Kent’s fifth in his young career. It could be that the youngster needs to step away from Liverpool and pursue his full time career elsewhere.

That could mean that the twenty-one year old becomes available next summer and I believe it would suit all parties if Rangers were to sign the attacker on a permanent basis.

The England under-20 international has already stated that he’d be open to a transfer to Ibrox and that he’s enjoying his stint in Scotland:

“The fans seem to really enjoy players getting forward and that suits my identity as a footballer.

“I really enjoy picking the ball up, dribbling at defenders and getting past them.”

“When the fans are right behind me, it gives me confidence to do that.”

“It’s something I’d consider. The fans are great here.”

“Rangers are an amazing club, but that’s a conversation they need to have with Liverpool, not me.”

I think another year or two, beyond this season, at Rangers under Steven Gerrard will do the winger a power of good. He’d be more relaxed, not worrying about what will happen after every season and where he’ll be sent to next. That reassurance and playing week in and week out should see him continue to flourish.

I wouldn’t dismiss his chances at Liverpool totally.

It would make sense for the Merseyside club to sell Ryan Kent for say £2m next summer and have a buy back clause of say £5m-£7m inserted into the deal and if he continues to improve at Ibrox then they sign the player back, in the belief he’d then be ready to shine in a Reds jersey.

I’m sure Ryan will continue to impress for Rangers this term but it will be interesting to see if the side from Govan can persuade Liverpool to part with the winger on a permanent basis!

Will Chelsea Rue Not Having An Option To Buy Real Madrid Loanee Mateo Kovacic?

A lot of people were surprised when it was announced that Chelsea had signed Mateo Kovacic on a season long loan from Real Madrid.

Not that they’d brought the talented Croatian in but for the fact that they’d done a deal with the La Liga giants without putting in an ‘option to buy’ clause into the deal,  as reported by Madrid based media outlet Marca.

Kovacic has taken to life in the Premier League like a duck to water. He looks very assured in a midfield three alongside Jorginho and N’Golo Kante.

His ability in transitioning the ball from defensive/midfield positions to attacking areas is particularly pleasing for the Blues faithful.

Under new boss Maurizio Sarri, Chelsea look to play quick, attacking and efficient football and Kovacic is very well suited to the style the Italian manager has implemented at Stamford Bridge.

The Croatian international is very good on the ball and his passing has been exceptional so far in a Blues jersey.

Only Manchester City defender John Stones has a better passing success rate than Mateo’s 94.3% average in seven Premier League appearances. On average the twenty-four year old midfielder is also making around 50 passes per game.

He also created an assist for Eden Hazard during Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with fellow league title challengers Liverpool. Getting the ball to Hazard, in the final third, as quickly as possible is key to Chelsea’s success so far this term and Mateo and Jorginho are big components in that happening effectively.

The loanee has also shown that he can remain unflustered in tight positions and that he can keep the ball when faced with stiff challenges from the opposition.

The central midfielder still has improvements to make within his game.

A big one needs to be for the player himself to score more goals. He has the engine and the footballing brain to get forward at the right times and to get into the perfect positions that should allow him to score more often. Hopefully that will come as he gets more game time under Sarri.

For me, the former Inter Milan man is already ahead of fellow midfield teammates Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek and I don’t think that will change between now and the end fo the current campaign.

All in all, you have got to think that Chelsea would want to keep Mateo Kovacic on a permanent basis. The player himself suggested that he’d prefer to leave Real at the end of last season:

“I think it’s best for me to go to another club where I will have the chance to play regularly as a starter.”

On that basis I think he’d much prefer to stay on at The Bridge rather than return to Spain’s capital and start all over again with Los Blancos come next season.

Maybe Madrid see his longterm future at the Bernabeu but I’m not sure that’s the case. I’d be more inclined to think that Florentino Perez will make Mateo a pawn in a possible Real move for Hazard next summer.

I think Chelsea will rue not getting a deal done in August that suited them better and next summer could be a long one if they hope to secure Kovacic’s services on a full time basis. Maybe it will be a case of enjoying him now but don’t get too attached!

Would Alessio Romagnoli Solve Mourinho’s Defensive Issues At Man United?

It’s being reported that under fire Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho wants his club’s board to loosen the pursestrings and bring in AC Milan defender Alessio Romagnoli.

At a potential fee of £40m, would the Milan captain enhance Man United’s defence?

The twenty-three year old is good in the air and in the 2017-18 season the Italian international averaged around 2.5 aerial battles per Serie A outing. Currently that’s down on Chris Smallings average of four headers per game this term but no other current United centre-half is as high as Alessio’s.

Romagnoli is also a very good distributor from the backline. He possess high concentration levels and he’s able to hold onto the ball when under pressure, as you’d expect from an Italian centre back.

Man Utd’s defence has lacked composure this season and the Italian international looks very assured with the ball at his feet. So far this term, Alessio has a 91.4% passing success rate in the Italian top flight and he’s up at 93.7% in the Europa League. No Man United player, never mind a defender, has a passing success rate above 90% so fat this season. Being a graduate of the great Zdenek Zeman, you would expect that the defender would know how to play from the back.

Another positive his Alessio’s age. Being in his early twenties, that should keep the United hierarchy happy as they want to bring in more youthful signings.

When you get compared to the legendary Alessandro Nesta then you have to be classed as a fine central defender.

So when you take all that into account, then it would seem that signing Alessio would be an easy yes but it kind of tells you half the story.

When you watch the internationalist regularly then you might think about consistency issues. To be fair, the whole Milan squad have had that problem in recent years. Man Utd have got similar problems so it could be a risk bringing in another defender who hasn’t quite hit top form for long enough spells.

I know he’s a defensive minded player but I would expect more goals from him as he’s good in the air but he’s only scored just three times for the Rossoneri.

The last time United bought a promising defender from Italy it was Matteo Darmian. It’s fair to say that the right back has struggle to reach his potential in England.

You then have to question on whether or not AC Milan would want to sell their star defender?

I suppose it all depends on where the Milanese side are positioned come the January transfer window. They’ve made a slow start to the current season but a hefty win in their game in hand and they could climb up to fourth place and will be back in the race to finish in the Champions League places.

Another consideration is that UEFA are keeping an eye on Milan’s bank balance, will they need to sell to balance the books?

Personally I would pick Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar over Romagnoli as I think the Slovakian could be better suited to the Premier League.

When you look at the current Manchester United defence then I’d say Alessio Romagnoli would be an improvement than those that are already there. Getting him and Skriniar would certainly bolster the United backline but it could prove problematic getting either in this season.

Richarlison Could Solve Everton’s Striking Problems

Everton new boy Richarlison has certainly hit the ground running since he arrived at Goodison Park this summer.

It cost Everton £50m to bring the twenty-one year old from Watford and the player himself hasn’t been phased by the hefty price tag.

In his first six Premier League outings for The Toffees, the forward has banged in four goals and also received a red card.

His form in England this term has been recognised in his homeland and last month he was selected to represent Brazil for the first time, he scored a brace in his second cap against El Salvador. He has also retained his place in the Selecao squad that will face Saudi Arabia and Argentina later on this week.

Richarlison seems to flourish when he plays under Marco Silva. The Portuguese manager was the Brazilian’s boss at Watford for the beginning of last season and he’s now his gaffer at Everton. The two seem to have a real connection and Silva knows how to get the best out of the attacker.

Interestingly Marco decided to play Richarlison as the Toffees main striker in their last game against Leicester City. Everton won the game 2-1 and the young Brazilian scored a nice close ranged volley to open the scoring.

The number nine role has been a position of concern for Everton thus far under Marco Silva. Cenk Tosun and Oumar Niasse have been too inconsistent, they’ve only scored one between them during this current league campaign.

So against the Foxes, Silva decided to give Richarlison’s fellow Brazilian Bernard his first start of the season. That meant that former Shakhtar Donetsk man was played out on the lefthand side and Richardson was pushed through the middle with Gylfi Sigurdsson playing in behind him and Theo Walcott playing on the right wing.

That forward line caused Leicester no end of problems. Bernard flourished in his first Toffees start and Sigurdsson was immense as the number ten, scoring a wonderful winner.

But for me, a huge positive was the performance of Richarlison as the main striker.

His energy, work-rate and his smart runs proved to be very difficult for the opposing defence. It wasn’t by chance that it was Richarlison on the receiving end of two bad tackles from Wes Morgan which ultimately saw the Foxes captain seeing red in the sixty-third minute. In fact, it’s fair to say that Richarlison had run Morgan ragged before his sending off.

Interestingly the twenty-one year old still tended to come out onto the left wing, linking up repeatedly with Bernard. That won’t be a bad thing if he continually takes a marker out there with him and it frees up space for either Sigurdsson or Walcott to run into.

Richarlison is also very good in the air and he can be quite physical too. That means he won’t be intimated by strong central defenders, as he proved with his performance up against Morgan and Harry Maguire in the past weekend. Being able to hold the ball up and score with his head could mean he’s ideal to become Everton’s regular number nine in the Premier League. He also posses the pace and the tricks that will scare centre-backs.

Having Richarlison up-top with Bernard, Sigurdsson and Walcott playing behind him gives Everton a fluid attack and one that already seems to have clicked. It will be hard for any defence to stifle that can of pace, energy and creativity.

If Brazilian internationalist Richarlison can adapt to his new position and learn to stay in the middle a wee bit more then he could become Everton’s hotshot striker, something they’ve been missing since Romelu Lukakau departed in 2017.

 

 

Brendan Rodger Would Be Making A Mistake If He Left Celtic For Aston Villa

It has been widely reported that Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has been included in a managerial shortlist for the current Aston Villa manager’s job and that the Midlands club want to speak to him about the role.

The Celtic gaffer made quite a diplomatic statement when he discussed the recent links after watching his side crush St Johnstone 6-0 in Perth:

“It’s a huge club, it’s a Premier League club, great facilities. I said it before when young John McGinn was going. They have a brilliant support base, a good history.

“But I’m sure they will know who they want to go in there. I’ve got a great job here, a very exciting challenge this season. You can’t rule me out because I’ve never been asked but for me it’s one where I’m really happy here.

“I’m the Celtic manager, I love it and have lots of challenges here.”

Now he doesn’t totally dismiss the notion, he just points to the fact that he doesn’t have an offer on the table to consider. He also points to the fact that Aston Villa are a big club.

The Hoops faithful will be thinking that his comments regarding his happiness at Celtic is a pretty good sign but in fairness he isn’t going to slag off his current job or his current employers.

Now the reason I think the Villa job is even a consideration is the poor summer Celtic had during the last transfer window. Rodgers like previous Hoops bosses became frustrated by the lack of movement early on in the window and they didn’t have a good enough squad to reach this season’s Champions League group stages.

You’ve got to think that the Northern Irishman might feel as though he’s reached a bit of a glass ceiling at Celtic and he might feel that he can’t take the Scottish Premiership champions any further. He’s qualified for the Champions League twice and he’s also secured two domestic trebles in his first two years at the club.

While I can see why Brendan might be thinking about a move away from Celtic Park I don’t think it’s the right time nor is Villa the right move for him.

This season has started very slowly. Celtic are currently sitting in fourth place, having dropped points in three games out of eight in the league. They’ve also had a mixed started to their Europa League campaign.

It would be very odd if Rodgers decides to leave Celtic at the first sign of trouble. I’d expect him to want to turn things around and get his club back to the top spot and if he were to leave Glasgow I would expect it come at the end of a season, unless it was a huge team that were coming in for him.

Going to the English Championship doesn’t seem like the right move. Yes Aston Villa are a big club but they aren’t in a league that I think would interest Rodgers. I also don’t think they’ve got the financial might that would be needed to convince Rogders that they were the right club for him to walk out on Celtic for.

I think it would be an odd choice and a big mistake if Brendan Rodgers were to depart Celtic for Aston Villa.

I think managers need to protect their CVs if they are lucky enough to be in a job and are being offered a new one. That means only move if you are making a step up, you’re getting more money and you have a chance to improve the team you are joining. I think Villa would only offer one out of three of those criteria.

Brendan would be better off getting Celtic back on track and if he is on the lookout for a new gig, then wait for the right Premier League job or a top European club managerial vacancy to become available and take that instead of going to England’s second tier.

Chelsea Keeper Kepa Already Proving He’s Worth Every Penny

Many an eyebrow was raised when Chelsea decided to pay out a world record fee for young Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga this summer.

The Blues had to replace former number one Thibaut Courtois, after the Belgian World Cup Golden Glove winner decided he wanted to join Real Madrid. Instead of going out for a well established goalie, Chelsea decided to recruit a young Spaniard who had shone at Athletic Bilbao in the previous two years.

At the moment it looks as though Chelsea have actually got the best possible deal. As Courtois struggles to establish himself at Real, Kepa has come into Stamford Bridge and he’s been very impressive in his first ten appearances for the club.

The twenty-four year old doesn’t seem at all phased by the £71.6m fee (the most any team has paid for a goalkeeper) that The Blues forked out for his services. The backline already have confidence in their keeper.

Obviously due to his age, stature and his nationality you’ll get plenty of people comparing Arrizabalaga with his compatriot David de Gea. But for me, Kepa has settled in to Premier League life a lot quicker than De Gea did at Manchester United. If the Chelsea shot-stopper can reach the levels that De Gea then reached, Chelsea will have a superstar on their hands.

Kepa has stated that De Gea has given him some tips since he arrived in England:

“David is a team-mate with the national team and we get on really well. When I signed for Chelsea, he gave me some advice, telling me a bit about how it was for him when he came here.”

Arrizabalaga seems to have great concentration levels and you need that if you are a goalkeeper playing for one of the top sides in the league.

He proved that yesterday in Chelsea’s away win over Southampton, The Blues were two goals up but then on the seventy-ninth minute Saints forward Nathan Redmond hit cracking shot from distance and Kepa expertly diverted it over his crossbar. That save meant that Chelsea weren’t in for a nervous finish and it deflated the opposition. In total he’s made eighteen saves in the league this season,

In his first ten games for Chelsea, Kepa has recorded an impressive six cleansheets. Only Manchester City and Liverpool have conceded less in the Premier League so far this term.

A huge reason for the Arrizabalaga signing was his ability with the ball at his feet. His distribution has been excellent thus far and he looks really assured when the ball comes back to him. In terms of his passing success rate, Kepa is averaging at 81.1% per league outing and is up at a whopping 92.1% in the Europa League. 

We all know that new Blues boss Maurizio Sarri likes to see his team playing high tempo football full of passes, so having a number one that is so good on the ball was always going to be needed and they’ve got that in Kepa. Only Joe Hart and Ben Foster have attempted more passes than the Chelsea keeper.

Kepa Arrizabalaga has enjoyed a superb start to his Chelsea career. The team are flying under Sarri and no one is currently missing former keeper Courtois and that’s a big compliment for the new number one at The Bridge.

If he can continue to impress and even improve then Chelsea will have a star on their hands and a fantastic goalkeeper to call upon when they need him in the biggest of games!